Rossini's Barber of Seville from the Lyric Opera of Chicago

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Barber of Seville Nathan Gunn in The Barber of Seville (Dan Rest/Lyric Opera of Chicago)

The Lyric Opera of Chicago’s new production of Rossini’s comic The Barber of Seville debuted in February with a starry cast. Nathan Gunn sings the role of Figaro, who is out to ensure that Count Almaviva (Alek Shrader) can marry lovely Rosina (Isabel Leonard) before her grumpy old guardian (Dr. Bartolo of Italian baritone Alessandro Corbelli) drags her to the altar himself. 

Michael Mariotti conducts.

CAST:

Figaro:  Nathan Gunn
Rosina:  Isabel Leonard
Almaviva:  Alek Shrader
Bartolo: Alessandro Corbelli
Basilio:  Kyle Ketelsen

CONDUCTOR:  Michael Mariotti
CHORUS:   Lyric Opera Chorus
CHORUS MASTER:  Michael Black

Comments [6]

Les from Miami, Florida

Correction: It's "Lo! Hear the Gentle Lark", not "Oh! Hear the Gentle Lark". I'm still bowled over by the cembalo player's sense of humor!

Jun. 21 2014 05:31 PM
Les from Miami, Florida

I was puzzled throughout by the tendency of Mariotti to speed up at the conclusions of arias and ensembles, treating almost all concluding bars as strettos and that disturbed me throughout. Rosina, Dr. Bartolo and Don Basilio highlighted the cast for me. I prefer a much lighter timbre in Count Almaviva 'a la Schipa and Valetti and most recently, Florez; and I conversely a more robust timbre for Figaro `a la Tibbett, Stracciari. and most recently Hampson. I thought the embellishments of all cast members tasteful and interesting; and I was especially tickled at the invention of the harpsichord player who briefly reprised some of the characters' arias at the beginning of their recitatives, such as the beginning of Act II with part of "A un dottor della mia sorte". Good going! The score was presented almost completely uncut; and Rosina's music lesson was almost literally what's printed. It's almost inconceivable to us today that in the old days many prima donnas interpolated "Oh! Hear the Gentle Lark" or the Bell Song from "Lakme'" in the lesson scene!

Jun. 21 2014 05:24 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJU

THE LYRIC OPERA OF CHICAGO has a noble history. Don't follow the normal way major opera companies make casting decisions by casting only from those under contract with their company. Do not cast for merely the youngest nor the most experienced, but cast for the best obtainable.

Jun. 21 2014 04:19 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music

THE LYRIC OPERA OF CHICAGO has a noble history. Don't follow the normal way major opera companies make casting decisions by casting only from those under contract with their company. Do not cast for merely the youngest nor the most experienced, but cast for the best obtainable.

Jun. 21 2014 04:17 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

NATHAN GUNN as Figaro decidedly steals the show vocally and from what one can hear by radio, the dramaturgy also. Isabel Leonard as Rosina is excellent. Maestro MICHAEL MARIOTTI commendably conducts a well-integrated ensemble of orchestra, soloists and chorus

Jun. 21 2014 03:02 PM
Les from Miami, Florida

This bill certainly looks promising, what with stalwarts like Gunn, Leonard, Corbelli and Ketelson. The conductor Mariotti and Shrader are both unknown to me. I wonder if Shrader will sing the aria before the last act finale (usually cut because of length and challenging fioriture) "Cessa di piu` resistere", as Florez did at the Met. Here's looking forward to a lot of fun and outstanding singing.

Jun. 21 2014 10:32 AM

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